The Ancient Library

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On this page: Alcman – Alcmene – Alcyone – Alcyoneus – Aldobrandini Marriage – Alecto – Alexander – Alexandra – Alexandrian Period – Alexikakos – Alexis – Alimentarii



on learning the truth, sets his sons to way­lay him on his road, and rob him of his treasure and his life; and then Aleraseon's two sons avenge their father's death on these murderers. Alcmseon, like his father, received divine honours after death ; he had a sanctuary at Thebes, and at Psophis a consecrated tomb.

Alcman (Gr. Alkmdn). The founder of Dorian lyric poetry, a Lydian of Sardes. He came to Sparta in his youth as a slave, was set free, and seems even to have received the citizenship; he flourished in the latter half of the 7th century B.C. He abandoned the old n5mic or dithyrambic poetry, writ­ten in hexameters, and composed in various metres Hymns, Paeans, Prosodia, Parthenia, ScSlia, and Erotics, the last of which he was supposed to have invented. His dialect was the Doric, softened by Epic and .(Eolic forms. Of his six books of poems a few fragments only are preserved; one, a rather long one, was found in Egypt.

Alcmene (Gr. Alkmf-ne). Daughter of Electryon, wife of Amphitryon (q.v.), mother of Heracles by Zeus. On her connexion with Ehadamanthys, see rhadamanthys. After her son's translation to the gods she fled from the face of Eurystheus to Athens, but went back to Thebes, and died there at a great age. She was worshipped at Thebes, and had an altar in the temple of Heracles at Athens.

Alcy6ne (Gr. AlkgOne). (1) Daughter of jEolus, wife of Ceyx (q.v. 2).—(2) One of the Pleiades.

Alcydnens (Gr. Alkydneus). Son of Ura­nus and Gsea, the eldest and mightiest of the giants, who could not be overtaken by death in his own birthplace. Hence, in the war with the giants, Heracles had to drag him away from Pallene before he could kill him with his arrows. Legend also tells of a giant Alcyoneus who stole the oxen of Heli6s from the island of Erytheia, and as Heracles was crossing the Thracian isthmus of Pallene, crushed twelve of his wagons and twenty-five men with a huge piece of rock, which was shown on the spot. When he hurled it at Heracles himself, the hero struck it back with his club, and killed Alcyoneus with the same blow.

Aldobrandini Marriage. See painting.

Alecto. One of the Greek goddesses of vengeance. (See erintes.)

Alexander (Gr. Alexandras). (1) See paris.

(2) Alexander j&Olus (the jEtolian) of

Pleuron in jEtolia, lived about 280 B.C. at Alexandria, being employed by Ptolemy in arranging the tragedies and satyric dramas in the Library. He was afterwards at the court of Antigfinus Gonatas in Macedonia. As a writer of tragedies he was reckoned one of the so-called Pleiad. He also tried his hand at short epics, at epigrams, elegies, and the like, of which some graceful frag­ments are preserved.

(3) A Greek rhetorician of the 2nd cen­tury a.d., son of the rhetorician Numenius. He composed a work on figures of speech, of which one extract and a free Latin ver­sion by Aqulla Romanus have survived.

(4) Alexander of Aphrodlsias in Caria, about 200 a.d., called Exegetes for his services in expounding the doctrine of Aristotle, wrote valuable commentaries on several Aristotelian treatises (especially the Metaphysics) as well as original works on Fate and Free-will, on the Soul, and others.

(5) Alexander of Trallls in Lydia, a Greek physician, lived in the 6th century a.d. at Rome, and made a careful collection from older writers on therapeutics, in twelve books.

Alexandra. See cassandra.

Alexandrian Period. See literature.

Alexlkak6s ( = warding off evil). An epi­thet of Apollo and Heracles.

Alexis. Alexis and Antlph&nes were the most prolific and important writers of the Middle Attic Comedy. Alexis was born at Thurii, b.c. 392. He attained the age of 106, writing to the last, and is said to have died on the stage with the crown on his head. He was the reputed author of 245 plays, of which numerous extracts are still extant, showing considerable wit and elegance of language. He was uncle to the poet Menander.

Alimentarli. The Latin name, during the imperial period, for children of needy but free-born parents, who, out of the in­terest of funds invested for the purpose, received monthly contributions to their sup­port in goods or money up to a certain age (fixed in the case of boys at eighteen, in that of girls at fourteen). This scheme, the object of which was to encourage people to marry, and so to check the alarming decrease of the free population, was started by the Emperor Nerva (a.d. 96-98), and extended by Trajan to the whole of Italy. Succeeding emperors also, down to Alexander Severus (222-235), founded such bursaries; and private citizens in Italy and the provinces, as, for instance

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